A couple of weeks ago, USA Today asked a simple question – What does Twitter mean to you? My response led to a phone call from writer Marco della Cava and a fun conversation about social media. This week, his story ran on the front page(!) and I've received email and phone calls from friends around the country. Most want to know more about what I said in the article – why Twitter is so appealing.
In my initial email to Marco, I wrote: "For me, Twitter is a way to connect with people I haven't met, but with whom I have much in common (as opposed to Facebook, which is a way to reconnect with people I already know)."
That's the key to Twitter. If you're actively engaged on it, if it appeals to you, chances are you have an awful lot in common with the other people there. There's a wonderful opportunity to connect over common interests and to start some great conversations. If you just post every once in a while and don't want to talk to anyone, chances are Twitter won't hold your interest for very long.
Here's what della Cava wrote:
Stacey Simms, 38, a radio talk show host in Charlotte, initially dismissed Twitter as "just one more thing to check." But she was hooked after getting a live analysis of a President Obama speech from a network television reporter tweeting from the scene.
"There are negatives, for sure," she says. "You have to manage your Twitter time or it can overwhelm you. And there is often profanity and negativity, but you can just stop following people who are a waste of time."
Twitter also has provided Simms great solace, connecting her with other parents of children with type 1 diabetes.
"It's been incredibly rewarding to hear about other people's experiences," she says. "Humor, information, emotion, and all in 140 characters."
Is Twitter a good place for business? Not really. At least not yet. Is it reliable for information? I say yes, for breaking news; if you follow reputable sources you won't get burned.
Are you on Twitter? If so, let me know what you think. If not, check it out – drop me a line if I can help you get started. Or just click on the blue Twitter "T" over on the left hand side of this page and follow along!